We constantly hear horror visions that the Earth is becoming totally overpopulated, and that eventually there will not be enough food for all of us – but as always, nature finds a way…
When Gwyneth Paltrow returns home from a business trip to Hong Kong, she feels unwell, dizzy and has a fever (sounds familiar?). And it’s probably not just a side effect of too much rice wine …
Paltrow dies a quick and painful death, and as she (literally) opens up, the WHO pandemic alarm goes off. Her husband (Matt Damon) is left with his son, a lot of questions and a bottomless fear.
Contagion is a fascinating and disturbing drama, and uncomfortably realistically portrayed; especially with regard to the world situation in 2020. Steven Soderbergh (director) touches on most of the issues that arise in the world community facing an epidemic that in the worst case will wipe out 75% of the Earth’s population, where everyone eventually becomes even closest, and chaos and anarchist conditions take over the daily order of society.
In an increasingly global world, where tens of thousands cross the oceans daily, a possible epidemic will spread like wildfire, where the population becomes irrational and moved by speculation and fear. In such a state, conspirators and doomsday people, here represented by Jude Law, get their fanatical followers. At the other end of the scale, the rational one, we find the sane researcher Kate Winslet, who does her part to map the spread pattern and find a vaccine as quickly as possible.
Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven) has made a low-key, almost documentary, drama about what happens when an insanely deadly virus with express speed spreads around the world, and kills on foot. For those of us who remember the swine flu – multiply it by 100! For those living in the present, with the Corona virus hanging over us, get in quarantine!
Damon is so ordinary that he blends in with “ordinary” people, and Winslet and Cottilard (La Vie En Rose) are reduced to supporting characters in this shocking drama. With effective clips, effective music and stylish photography, Soderbergh serves another excellent and untraditional film. Soderbergh launched the film in 2011, little then did he and the screenwriter (Scott Z. Burns) know how right they should be in their “predictions”. 5 sparkling stars – highly recommended, but watch it with the mouthpiece firmly attached.
Unfortunately, none of the major streaming services currently offer the film, but it can be purchased on Blu-ray from Platekompaniet. The bright light comes into its own in the sparkling picture quality on the Blu-ray disc, also the soundtrack (dts-HD) is extremely satisfactory. In bonus material, we are served a (short) documentary about real epidemic dangers, as well as two mini-documentaries about previous epidemics and interviews with experts in the field.